21 July 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Tile Films complete new docudrama series ‘Bás Nó Saoirse’ (Death or Liberty)
30 Sep 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Owen McDonnell in ‘Bás Nó Saoirse’
Tile Films have just completed ‘Bás Nó Saoirse’ (Death or Liberty), a docudrama series for TG4. Filmed in 5K in Ireland, Wales and Australia, the series explores the fate of the Irish rebels who were exiled to the penal colonies of Australia - the prison without walls.

Executive Producers on the series are Stephen Rooke and Craig Dow Sainter with Stephen Rooke , Stephen Thomas, Kath Symmons and Anna Grieve producing. Keith Farrell and Stephen Thomas serve as directors on the series which is narrated by Seán Ó Tarpaigh.

At the dawn of the 19th century, Ireland was part of the British Empire, the largest global empire in history, where millions were denied fundamental rights and freedoms. ‘Bás Nó Saoirse’ tells the story of the heroic idealists and patriots who challenged the might of this vast empire. It brings to life the extraordinarily brave rabble-rousers who triumphed over their gaolers and had a lasting impact on our world. Based on the book Death or Liberty by Tony Moore, this is a co-production between Tile Films and Australia’s Roar Film.

The series features 5K photography by Australian cinematographer Ellery Ryan, well known for his acclaimed work on The MatchMaker (1997) and In Too Deep (1999). Bás Nó Saoirse is the first Irish docudrama series to be filmed in 5K. The series was edited by Cuán Mac Congháil (Tales of Irish Castles, Eliza Lynch) and features a musical score by Steve Lynch (A Terrible Beauty, Saving the Titanic, Let us Prey). It stars Irish actors Owen McDonnell (Single-Handed, Saving the Titanic), Sean T. Ó Meallaigh (An Klondike, A Terrible Beauty) and Lochlainn Ó Mearáin (Vikings, Ros na Rún).

The series is also a dramatized musical history from celebrated troubadours Billy Bragg, Lisa O’Neill and Mick Thomas. The programmes blend music, interviews, visuals and dramatic reconstructions and the words of the convicts themselves to create a unique televisual experience.

Director Keith Farrell said: “This is the great ‘what happened next’ tale of the radicals and rebels who were forcibly exiled to Australia. ‘Bás Nó Saoirse’ is a series I am fiercely proud of filming in four countries across two continents.”

Producer Stephen Rooke is equally excited about the production: “The series explores events that are incredibly significant in the histories of both Ireland and Australia. I think the fact that we filmed the drama re-enactments in two continents gives it a real sense of authenticity.”

‘Bás Nó Saoirse’ is a co-production between Tile Films and Australia’s Roar Film. It was produced with the support of TG4, S4C, ABC Australia, Screen Australia, Screen Tasmania, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound & Vision Funding Scheme and Section 481, Ireland’s Film Tax Corporation Credit.

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